139 Tasting Notes
So I come home today and find out that CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY THIS YEAR! My H&S order was waiting by the door and I couldn’t stop bouncing with excitement. This is my first time ordering from them directly, and I couldn’t be happier. The teas I chose all smell amazing! Just for the record, I ordered loose leaf tins for Paris, Boston, and Florence. Time to travel the world (I wish..)! It’s really too bad that I chose all black teas. I can’t try them tonight or I won’t get to sleep! Luckily, I received a sample of Caribe, a blend of green and black. I can’t NOT have any of my new tea today so I decided to start with this.
I tore open the sample packet and stuck my nose in it. WOW thing tea smells zingy! It was a punch of sweet and sour citrusy notes right to the nostrils. Really reminded me of Juicy Fruit gum, which I noted another review mention. The smell is really quite similar that my mouth started watering in anticipation of that delicious first sugary sour bite. Interestingly enough the aroma didn’t translate after I had brewed the tea. It lost a of lot of punching power, mellowing out to a sweeter guava-dominated aroma that is much easier on the nose. I only left the sachet in for about 2 minutes, as the tea turned dark very quickly (which has been my experience with all H&S teas I’ve tried so far). My first sips didn’t turn out much flavour however, so I threw it back in for a while longer.
This tea almost tastes like Juicy Fruit gum. I definitely get that sour pucker on the sides of my tongue. I don’t know how much I like the black tea base in there, it doesn’t seem to match the zingy tropical theme this tea is going for. Guava and lime are the most dominant flavours I can identify. It’s not terrible, but I think the flavour profile just falls short of its potential. I think it could be better without the black tea; with it I feel it is a bit muted, like the grumpy sibling to a bouncy little child that just wants to be free. Maybe I’ll go grab my guava fruit out of the fridge to pair it with!
Edit: As it cooled down the flavours got a lot more balance and liveliness to them, so I feel like this could make a great iced tea. If I ever get my hands on more, I will try it iced!
Finally finishing off the last little bit of this! Since I am out of Assam, I mixed it with Teavana’s Royal English Breakfast. It was pretty good still! I think it would go well with any full-bodied unflavoured black tea base. Happily sipped this one down today. Not sure I would go out of to way to order more but I definitely enjoyed it while I had it.
In other news, my Harney and Sons order should be delivered tomorrow. Super excited!
Found a tin of this buried somewhere in my tea cupboards. However, I can’t remember if this is the tin I blended with Youthberry when I had both of them in loose leaf. Tasted good either way. Floral orangey-tangerine mixed with other citrus and berry notes. Will be happy to finish this off as I’ve had the for a long time and I feel like it lost a little flavour.
Hey everyone, I am back! Between me moving out and breaking up with my long-term boyfriend, I found that it had killed my creativity and joy a little bit, so I had absolutely no inspiration for tea for a while. It feels good to be back, though, and I am back in force considering I am planning on making a big order from Harney and Sons. I don’t think it’s sold locally except for Indigo, which only ever carries a selection of 4 teas, all in sachet form. I’m ordering a tin of Paris, which I fell in love with (in loose leaf this time), and Boston, which I feel like is one I would really enjoy just based on its description. I need to get at least one more in order to qualify for free shipping. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good H&S tea? I generally enjoy blacks, flavoured and unflavoured, and green tea (though nothing genmaicha-like, don’t like the toastyness). Will go for herbal if it’s really good!
Today I am finishing off my mysterious “Black tea with coconut and berries”, which I have come to love and really felt comforting to sip in my toughest moments. I would love to find a replacement for this tea, as I have really come to enjoy the combination of the bright fruitiness with a delicate sweep of sweet coconut in the background, all balanced on a fine foundation of a black the base. At least now I have a tea mason jar freed up so I can fill it with more wonderful tea! If I could just get the damned sticker off completely…
Decided to be a little bold and adventurous today (not really), so I tried blending my White Pearl of Fujian with my plain white Clipper tea. Alone, I found the Clipper tea to be quite tasteless except for a distinct sour note. However, it seems to work quite well in this blend. The apricot notes from White Pearl really stand out against the plain background that Clipper provides, and the sourness is almost completely masked. White Pearl also used to be a bit bitter for me, but that problem was mostly resolved in this blend. Two poor quality teas don’t make a great tea together, but these two at least complement each other enough to help the flavour a lot. I think I will be encouraged to finish off these two white teas if I blend them together. :)
It’s been a tumultuous time for me for the past week or so, as I have moved out of my boyfriend’s place after living there for about 5 years and am now with a new roommate. This is a significant and emotional change for me, but the familiar aroma and comfort of my favourite teas has been a great help.
I have drank Magic Dragon a couple times before, but have not yet sat down to do a proper review of it. I used quite a bit of leaf for this brew as it is an herbal tea – no need to worry about bitterness – and I just want it to punch me in the face with flavour. The aroma is quite pleasing; faintly sweet with a detectable amount of dragonfruit notes.
The tea is actually a bit tart, which is probably due to the apple/hibiscus that apparently needs to be included as per default in every single fruit tisane. (/grump) The good news is that the dragonfruit does balance this out, and beacuse I loaded up on the leaf I can definitely taste it. Pretty enjoyable overall, although I think Dragonfruit Devotion from Teavana was a bit better (though that was a long time ago).
Another tea I brought home with me from DT. The girl working there let me try a sample of their cold brew of this tea, and I quite enjoyed it. It was flavourful and sweet, and she told me they didn’t add any sweetener to it whatsoever. I honestly didn’t believe her until I made a cold brew of this myself at home. It tasted just like the sample I tried in store. Very aromatic and flavourful! Tastes juicy and fresh, very unexpected from most herbal tisane experiences I’ve had in the past.I’ve already finished the entire 36g I got in two cold brews. This is one I would like to get again, but probably won’t until next summer considering the weather has taken a turn for the worse now.
Having a go at one of LP’s pu-erh sample packets. This one was unlabelled, and looked like a fourth of a tiny tea cake. I actually pulled out my digital scale for the first time since buying it (over a year ago… lol) and the piece weighed 7g. I thought this might be too much to use for a single mug of tea, but I was unable to break it in half as it was quite hard. So I did a really terrible mock version of gong fu brewing. It turned out OK, but I wouldn’t really know because I had no idea what I was doing, haha. I just went off of what I read in other people’s notes when they do multiple steepings.
So, I used boiling to near-boiling water for everything, since I don’t have a variable temperature kettle. Also… all my times are approximate.
I started with a 10 second rinse, since apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do with pu-erh tea. Next, I let it steep for about 20 seconds and I pulled out another mug to pour the tea between the two a few times to cool it down so that I could try it faster. The first infusion was too light, I couldn’t really pick out any definite flavours. The cake was still mostly packed though, so after the first infusion I loosened it up with a knife to get the leaves to separate a bit. The second infusion I left for maybe 30 seconds, and this one turned darker quicker. It also had a rather woodsy aroma, but the tea remained a light amber/orange tone, not the dark brown that I had come to expect with my other pu-erh experiences. This is the infusion I decided to drink and review. I have put aside the leaves so I might go back and use them a couple more times to see what happens.
The tea is pretty decent. I still have a hard time understanding the flavours of a pu-erh because I am not able to identify other notes other than a woodsy aroma that reminds me of the smell of wet, earthy moss. Nonetheless, I like this infusion and would call it a mild success. I would even say it reminds me a tiny bit of the earthiness of oolong, but with the slight fermenty flavour that pu-erh gets. That’s another thing: I know that pu-erh has a distinct flavour which comes from its fermentation, but I can’t isolate this note from the others in my infusion, even though I know its there and I can detect it. Dunno if pu-erh will ever really be my thing, but I will keep trying.
I saw this tea on sale at DT’s a couple days ago and I knew I had to try it. The last quince tea I had I enjoyed especially because it reminded me of lychees, and this one is no exception! At least in the aroma. The dry leaf is very aromatic, and smells like sweet and floral lychee juice. When the tea is brewed, the apple notes start to creep into the aroma, and the flavour is primarily apple, slight tartness, and a sweet note to it that is barely discernible but enjoyable when it hits the tongue once in a while. I would have liked this tea’s flavour profile to reflect more than just the apple ingredients, but nonetheless there is just enough going on in this tea to keep me interested and enjoying the whole cup. I wonder if adding a little bit of rock sugar would help bring those quince notes out in the flavour? Will have to try this next time.
100th tasting note, and this one is bittersweet for me. On the upside I’ve reached a mile stone writing 100 reviews (and reviewing near 100 different types of tea presumably, excluding any duplicates), but on the downside, I had to say goodbye to my Teavana double-walled glass mug that I absolutely adored. A while ago I somehow managed to crack the inner walls of it while doing dishes, but I was able to keep using it because the crack was not on the exterior of the cup and didn’t seem to be letting any liquid through. However, after taking out of the drying rack today I noticed the crack had spread all the way down the side of the mug, and I could now feel the edges of it. So there goes my favourite mug, which is not even for sale anymore. I am down to my very last one, but I keep that one at work 24/7 since I spend most of my time there anyway. Maybe I can mooch one off of my mom, who has 4 of these. So I guess it’s not that bad, hah.
I am drinking a green tea to help perk me up for an after-work study session, which are usually harder to stay focused than in the early mornings before work (although that’s a whole different kind of difficulty!). I haven’t had this dragonwell in a while, so I felt like refreshing my memory of it. The aroma of the dry leaf and the tea itself is very light and delicate – almost indiscernible. The flavour is much the same. I added a bit more leaf than my instincts told me to, because I remember from my last tasting that the tea is quite weak in flavour, so I was hoping to draw some more distinct notes out of it.
Freshly brewed and quite hot, the tea doesn’t have much of a flavour profile. It’s very light on the tongue and doesn’t leave much of an aftertaste either (something I personally look for in a green tea.) As it cools, the body improves slightly, but still not enough to make a noticeable difference.
This tea is probably supposed to be a lighter type of green tea, but for my own enjoyment, next time I will try to add even more leaf and steeping time and see how that goes.